Award-winning author Salman Rushdie has a simple message for his American readers about the upcoming presidential election: “Focus.”
Writing on Facebook last night, the author of The Satanic Verses took just one paragraph to frame the stakes and choices in the 2016 election.
The faults Rushdie lists against Trump are mostly accurate. To be fair, Rushdie is exaggerating slightly when he says Trump is scheduled to “go on trial” on child rape and racketeering charges — there are two lawsuits set to go to routine pre-conference hearings, where they may or may not proceed to an actual trial, according to defense lawyer and blogger Ken White.
But everything else checks out. It is true that Trump has now been accused by 17 different women of sexual assault, has refused to release his tax returns, used his charity to pay legal fees, and verbally abused the family of a war hero. Of course, Rushdie doesn’t even get to some of the most obvious Trump outrages — refusing to rent to African-American tenants in the 1970s, defrauding students at Trump University, suing those who disagree with him into oblivion. And we still haven’t gotten to the public policies that many find objectionable, like unprecedented tax cuts for billionaires and immigration restrictions on Muslims that would have made it illegal for a younger Rushdie to move to America.
By framing the election in these stark and simple terms, Rushdie is channeling a widespread frustration among liberals that the race is as close as it is. Over the last few days, as the polls have tightened, there’s been a rising backlash against the coverage this weekend about the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server — an issue that got more minutes of network news coverage all policy questions combined.